Heliportugal and Groupe SAF, two Portuguese and French operators that quietly merged in 2008, are announcing a common name and expansion plans. Now called United Helicopter Services (UHS), the company operates 63 aircraft, including 59 helicopters, and has a 300-strong workforce, of which 100 are pilots. Annual revenues are said to be close to €70 million ($98 million) and flight hours are about 30,000 annually.
Six AgustaWestland AW139s will be delivered to Panama’s Aeronaval Service as part of a bilateral anti-crime agreement focused on international drug trafficking and organized crime negotiated between Italy and Panama earlier this year.
The FAA, EASA and Transport Canada approved Goodrich's rotor-blade ice-protection system (Rips) for the AgustaWestland AW139 medium twin, the Charlotte, N.C.-based aircraft systems supplier announced yesterday. Rips is a key part of the full ice-protection system and bestows all-weather capability on the AW139, making it the first helicopter in its category certified for flight into known-icing conditions.
AgustaWestland revealed yet another new helicopter yesterday in Farnborough– the twin-engine, 4.5-metric ton AW169. Nestling between the GrandNew and AW139 in the company’s product line, the AW169 (shown here as a mockup) is aimed primarily at the government, parapublic and commercial markets, offering an eight- to 10-seat cabin that can be rapidly reconfigured for a variety of roles.
Newquay Cornwall Airport (Hall 1 Stand B16) is hoping that helicopter manufacturer Agusta-Westland’s recent decision to establish a new flight training facility could prove to be the first step in building an aerospace business hub at the former Royal Air Force base in the southwest of England. The $1.5 million development was announced on March 31, and includes funding from the European Regional Development Fund.
AgustaWestland broke ground on a new production plant at Tomilino, near Moscow, late last month. The 120,000-sq-ft building will house another final assembly line for the AW139 medium twin under an equal joint venture called HeliVert with state-owned Russian Helicopters. The AW139 is currently manufactured in Italy, as well as in the U.S. at Agusta’s Philadelphia plant.
AgustaWestland (Booth No. 7020) has received FAA and EASA certification for the full ice-protection system (FIPS) on its AW139 medium twin helicopter. With the FIPS option, the aircraft can fly into known icing. Approval from Transport Canada is expected soon and the manufacturer plans to deliver 12 FIPS-equipped AW139s this year.
AgustaWestland on March 31 officially opened its “operational flying training center” (OFTC) at Newquay Cornwall Airport in South West England. The OFTC can provide services from basic helicopter pilot training to “advanced operational helicopter flying training.” Because the training center was devised for military and public services pilots, it is also able to train rear crew for rescue winch and medical missions.
The FAA has proposed that ERA Helicopters pay a civil penalty of $260,000 for operating a helicopter on Part 135 flights without complying with required post-maintenance checks and test flights. According to the agency’s penalty letter, sent to ERA on January 28, ERA operated Agusta AW139 N156JS for 23 passenger-carrying flights without accomplishing a required blade track and balance check following replacement of a rotor system lag damper.
Financial results for 2009 showed that AgustaWestland (Booth No. 7020) is spending more on research and development than its rival Eurocopter (Booth No. 7010). The latter gives a high profile to its R&D efforts, while the former has consistently been much quieter. Nonetheless, Europe’s leading helicopter manufacturers have joined forces for Clean Sky, a major research project partly funded by the European Commission (EC).